A GROUP of students at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra has been hailed for their remarkable display of heroism in defending their classmates and female lecturer from a baseball-wielding man.
Australian Capital Police said in the 9am incident on Friday, the 18-year-old attacker stood up from his seat with a bat and set upon the teacher in front of the class room.
Several students made a bid to restrain the attacker but he assaulted four people, including the lecturer, in the process.
According to the Associated Press, Police Detective Superintendent Ben Cartwright said one student managed to take the bat away from the attacker. The attacker, who is also a student taking part in the statistics class, was not carrying any other weapons.
“[It showed] incredible bravery on behalf of those students to protect the lecturer,” he said, as quoted by the ABC.
The attack left one male student, two female students and the female lecturer with non-life-threatening injuries.
“They appear to be defensive injuries, we believe [there are] a couple of broken bones, a broken arm,” he said.
The victims were taken to Canberra Hospital.
Police said the attacker, who was arrested following the incident, did not have any prior criminal records or was under the radar of police and intelligence agencies.
Authorities say his motives were still under investigation.
Student Max Claessens, 18, whose friend was in the classroom at the time of the incident, said he was told by his friend the attacker had waited for class to settle in before abruptly taking out the bat from his bag and hitting people with the item.
He said the attacker had been a student of the statistics class for a month.
“One of the students just randomly out of the blue got up with a bat, struck out at two or three students, before apparently going for the teacher,” he said, as quoted by the AP.
“And obviously people were in a bit of shock so they ran out to get help before the guy – who wasn’t coming down and was going a bit crazy, to be honest – was restrained.”
Claessens said the student had appeared to be a normal person who did not raise any suspicions.
“It was just out of the blue. Nothing seemed strange about him.”
“I’m a bit surprised, to be honest. I didn’t expect something like this to happen. You can’t exactly anticipate someone picking up a bat in a statistics class.”
The university’s deputy vice-chancellor Marni Hughes-Warrington lauded the students who defended their lecturer.
“I’m delighted and unsurprised to see such acts of bravery – we know one another, we really care for one another,” she said.
“This is an isolated and random incident that’s happened in a very caring community. This is a very unusual thing.”
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